[tweetmeme source=”plassappliance”]As we say goodbye to 2011 and hello to 2012, it is important that we all begin to make a conscious effort to be more energy-efficient and save energy, money, and reduce the risks of global warming. We’ve compiled 5 long-term savings tips for you to add to your New Year’s Resolution list in order to start your year off saving by making smart and more efficient choices.
Improve Refrigeration: Did you know that Refrigerators are the largest users of electricity among household appliances? It’s true, that beautiful stainless steel icebox that looks so sharp in your Kitchen uses more energy than any other appliance in the house. In order to your improve Refrigeration, make sure the energy saver switch is turned on. This switch allows you to adjust the heating coil under the “skin” of the refrigerator (the purpose of the heating coils is to prevent condensation on your refrigerator). Check the seal on door gaskets periodically. Close the door on a dollar bill, if it pulls out easily, you may need a new gasket. Avoid setting refrigerator temperatures colder than necessary. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that refrigerators be set at 37 degrees F and freezers at 3 degrees F. Remember to cover liquids and wrap foods stored in the refrigerator. Uncovered foods release moisture and make the compressor work harder. Lastly, if you have a manual-defrost unit, regularly defrost the freezer and refrigerator; frost buildup decreases the energy efficiency of the unit.
Cook Smarter: Cook smarter you say, well how? Start first by thinking about the different types of cooking you do in the Kitchen. Use the oven when you can instead of the cook top. Surface units heat continuously,while ovens heat about one-third of the time it is in use. When using the range or oven, avoid opening the oven door to take a peek. Oven temperatures can drop as much as 50 degrees every time you open the oven door. If you do use the stove-top or cooktop, cover your pots and pans. This will keep the heat in, cook your food quicker, and keep your kitchen cooler. If you must, only use the self-cleaning oven cycle for big cleaning jobs. It’s a good idea to start the cycle while the oven is still hot from baking.
Keep it Cold: When it comes time to do the laundry, keep it cold by washing your laundry in cold water whenever possible. Hot water heating accounts for about 90 percent of the energy your machine uses to wash clothes. Ironically only 10 percent goes to electricity used by the washer motor. You can do laundry effectively and efficiently with cold water, through the use of cold water detergents. Depending on the clothes and your local water quality (hardness), using cold water detergents will work as they pack the same stain lifting punch as most standard detergents. Plus, make the switch to cold water and you can save yourself more than $40 annually (with an electric water heater) and more than $30 annually (with a gas water heater). While keeping it cold, be sure to wash your clothes in full loads. Washing a full load of laundry can save you more than 3,400 gallons of water each year.
Use Less Water: We all need to strive to use less water. Not just once or twice, but all the time. Start by looking at your washing machine. Clothes washing machines account for more than 20% of water used inside the home. Running a conventional washing machine can use more than 50 gallons of water per cycle. Today new high-efficiency models use 50% less water and energy. Most full-sized high-efficiency clothes washers will only use between 18-25 gallons of water per load. They are one of the most effective ways to use less water and reduce your household water usage. When going to do the dishes, you can also save water by scraping dishes before loading in the dishwasher. Most dishwashers today can thoroughly clean dishes that have had food scraped off and whatever is left, the detergent take care of the rest. And always make a conscious effort to only run the dishwasher when enough dirty dishes have accumulated for a full load.
Go Energy Star: One of the best ways to save energy, money, and reduce the risks of global warming if to go Energy Star and purchase Energy Star Rated Appliances. Appliances account for about 13% of your household’s energy costs, with refrigeration, cooking, and laundry at the top of the list. Energy Star Refrigerators use at least 20% less energy than required by current federal standards and 40% less energy than the conventional models sold in 2001. Energy Star clothes washers will clean clothes using 50% less water and 37% less energy than standard washers. Energy Star Dishwashers are required to use 5.8 gallons of water per cycle or less, whereas older dishwashers purchased before 1994 use more than 10 gallons of water per cycle. Look for the Energy Star logo when you go shopping, and know that those products meet the specific standards for energy efficiency. All Energy Star qualified products exceed the federal minimum standards for efficiency and quality, sometimes by a substantial amount.
Have any of these long-term savings tips struck you as ones that you will adopt leading into 2012. We hope you found them useful and walk-away with a new perspective on how you can start your year off saving by making smart and more efficient choices. Happy New Year everybody! Well wishes and lots of luck in the coming year.